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Saturday 29th October 2016

Wales scrap prescription charge

2nd April 2007

As we reported was likely earlier in the year, Welsh patients no longer have to pay for their prescriptions.

welsh flag

As the prescription charge for the rest of the UK rises to £6.85, the Welsh Assembly has voted that the NHS will pay for all prescriptions for those living in Wales.  In a bid to enhance patient equality, charges in Wales had already been significantly reduced but assembly members recently voted to scrap them entirely from 1 April.  While GPs and pharmacists welcomed the move, the drugs industry has warned that abolishing the charges could lead to people not respecting and therefore wasting their medicines.  The policy is expected to cost nearly £30m in its first year but assembly members say many people in Wales already receive free medicines so the increase will not be that significant.

A spokesperson for the Welsh arm of the National Pharmacy Association welcomed the move saying it would help many patients who were forced to drop items off their prescription list in order to save money.  "The system is very inequitable,? he said.  However, former health minister Edwina Currie, who is now a trustee of the Patients Association, said the policy undermined the fabric of the NHS.  "It seems quite bizarre that on the opposite side of the Severn Bridge we're going to have completely different rules, and it is certainly going to make patients on the English side feel really quite hard done by," she argued.


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